May 10, 2019

Palliative Care vs. Hospice

Palliative care is attending to the physical, emotional, and spiritual suffering of patients and families who are dealing with a serious illness. Palliative care is available at any stage of an illness.

Hospice is a type of palliative care that is provided during the last six months of life. Hospice is also distinct from end-of-life care, which is the care of patients in the last days and hours of their lives. In the US, hospice is overwhelmingly provided in a patient's home or in a nursing home.

Studies show that for patients with, for example metastatic lung cancer, if they received palliative care with their cancer treatment, as opposed to receiving cancer treatment alone, the patients actually lived longer and had better quality-of-life scores.

When we think of disease as a battle to fight, we tend to divide people into winners and losers, which does not benefit them. It is better to frame it as you may be a fighter, but your body cannot fight this anymore. The distinction is between the person not being a loser and the natural limits of their body.

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